OPEN AIR ADVENTURE
03 May 2018
JEEP has taken its new Compass crossover to the streets in New Zealand with an initiative by distributors Ateco Group NZ that allows CBD workers to test the SUV on an off-road course.
Ateco Group marketing manager Greg MacDonald said the new Compass justified more than just being on a billboard.
“With a great new product in Compass, we wanted to do the brand justice with its heritage and ability off the road. So we thought we’d take it to the people and show it off,” he told GoAutoNews Premium.
“We thought a live display right in the heart of the major centres would be an attraction.
“It has been done overseas so we borrowed a bit of the idea. We chose to place the demonstration right in the heart of Auckland’s CBD and financial district and also right above the transport hub, Mr MacDonald said.
“That way we had a target of high socio-economic people – finance and bank workers, for example – plus a very high female population.
“We had a woman demonstrating the car during the week which was also of interest to the audience. For us, it was a strong demographic, especially the high volume of women.”
Jeep sales in New Zealand are up 66 per cent year to date to the end of March, with most of the sales coming from the Grand Cherokee, outgoing Wrangler and increasingly, the new Compass, Mr MacDonald said.
“The small-SUV sector is up 49 per cent year to date and there are a lot of players so it’s very crowded,” he said.
“The Compass Trailhawk is the only one in its class with all the off-road features – including low range – and we wanted to show people that.
“Incredible slopes and downhills and lifting wheels – it’s quite a spectacle for people who haven’t been exposed to Jeep before.”
Ateco Group – a subsidiary of Australia-based Ateco Automotive – received permission for the CBD display and erection of the ramps, obstacles and faux rocks from the Auckland council and the property owners.
“All were very helpful. It’s not a cheap exercise but it has proven to work and we’re very happy with the result,” Mr MacDonald said.
Dealers were involved from the start and aside from direct involvement on the site, Ateco organised a competition for visitors that offered one of three one-day Jeep adventure experience trips as prizes.
“The competition allowed us to gather names and record numbers,” he said.
“We booked 200 test drives from the Auckland event. Though the number isn’t big by Australian standards, we sold four cars immediately off the site and we have more sales expected over the next fortnight.
“We have representatives from the nearby dealers on site as well as staff from Ateco. The sales go to the dealer selling the car. It is very important that the dealers are part of these events.”
Mr MacDonald said the five-day Auckland display led to a similar time last week at the centre of the nation’s capital, Wellington.
“Next week we are in Christchurch for a week,” he said.
“More exhibition events are planned in the future. It’s such a key part of the Jeep brand heritage and this is the best way of showing it off.”